Mikel Arteta has insisted that Emile Smith Rowe still has a “role” to play at Arsenal.
Smith Rowe has found himself in-demand this summer, and was targeted by Chelsea, as reported by The Daily Mail. However, the Gunners showed no interested in letting the Hale End academy graduate depart the Emirates Stadium.
It is unsurprising that sporting director Edu was unwilling to sanction such a move, given that it would directly strengthen one of the north London club’s fiercest rivals. However, a question remains as to whether there is still a place for Smith Rowe at Arsenal.
The 23-year-old’s talent is not in doubt. He showed in the 2021/22 season that he has what it takes to shine in the Premier League. Since then, though, injury issues and the form of teammates such as Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard have seen his involvements dwindle.
Smith Rowe was only afforded twelve Premier League outings last season, all of which came from the bench. Despite looking fit and revitalised during England’s triumph at the under-21 European Championships this summer, the £40,000-a-week Arsenal No.10 is yet to see a minute of league action so far this season.
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Arteta makes Smith Rowe vow
For all his quality, there have to be question marks over whether Smith Rowe is a good tactical fit for Arteta, or if he has the levels of commitment that the Spanish coach demands.
Arteta has now sought to dispel such rumours and put an end to the debate. As quoted by the club’s official website, he said today of Smith Rowe that, “he has a role like everybody else does, which is to give his best to make the team better…”
“Obviously, I have conversations with him and it’s important for him to understand where he is. It was always going to be tricky in the first three or four weeks, not just for us…all of the players that are not playing and are unhappy…everybody has started the new season with huge aspirations and there’s not minutes for everybody, but September will be very different.”
The Gunners face a busy schedule in September, after the international break, with four games set to take place between the 16th and 30th of the month. These include the first north London derby of the Premier League season and an EFL Cup tie against Brentford.
After Arteta’s words today, Smith Rowe will expect to get chances to prove his worth during this run of fixtures.